Pasadena Teen Book Fest was something I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to attend. At my previous job, I always had to work weekends, so when it was announced with tickets, I didn’t even bother signing up.
Flash forward to a week ago. I ended up losing my shiteous job and finding a new and awesome one that doesn’t require weekends. So, decided to go and
stalk Gretchen McNeil see how it turned out as there was a really good line up of authors.
I got up to Pasadena just after 11am. I found the library [and more importantly parking] after driving around the same 2 blocks for about 15 minutes. Because I was on the wait list, I wasn’t guaranteed to get into the auditorium for the panels. At check in, they gave me a lanyard, name badge and program.
Vroman’s was there to sell books and they had nice little set up off to the side. From the room they were in, there was a patio area and I believe that’s where all of the signings were going to take place.
I ended up finding Gretchen on the patio [it helps when the person you’re stalking tells you where they’re at]. I hung out with her for a bit, catching up. She gave me an arc of Get Even [pretty much the reason I showed up] and signed some books for me.
I went back inside and was told that there were open seats for Andrew Smith. I got I to the auditorium and went to stand in the corner. The woman told me that I needed to take a seat, that only volunteers were allowed to stand. I found a seat in the back and listened to Andrew Smith.
He was talking about Grasshopper Jungle and books being banned. He then read a passage from the book. He mentioned that the passage didn’t have any bad words in it. When he read it FoB, the looks on the faces of the audience were like he was showing a snuff film.
Aaron Hartzler came out and they started to have an “in conversation” thingy.
When talking about a 16 year old fan who wanted advice about being a teacher, Andrew told him that he should become a teacher because he loves people, not because he loves the subject. Because teachers “who love the subject are assholes.”
AH: Can you give us an idea of things that you bumped into?
AS: I am the first born child of an Italian immigrant. I spent a lot of time in Europe. I spent one summer on a beach in Yugoslavia.
AH: How did you afford eat?
AS: You can live so cheaply there. Just don’t drink beer at 17, kids.
I wrote Marbury because I was kidnapped as a teen and thought it would be okay to talk about. Every time something happened to me, I would think “someday I’m going to write about this.”
AH: You have a new book coming out. Can you tell us about it?
AS: It’s called 100 Sideways Miles. I don’t really like math, but I always do compulsive counting. I did an equation to see how fast the earth is moving. It’s 20 miles per second. My main character thinks in terms of distance and he thinks his life could be trapped in his father’s book because there’s a character named after him.
After that, they wrapped it up and directed the people who were going to Andrew’s signing to the area it was going to be held. I ended up being the third person in line.
When I got to Andrew, he signed my book and took a picture with me. As I was getting my stuff together, he asked if I had read the book already. I said not yet. He said he was wondering because of the tattoo on my forearm. He had just gotten something from the book tattooed in the same area. I was tempted to ask if he would show me, but I didn’t want to hold up the line.
As I was heading out, I ran into Alethea and thanked her for everything. She laughed when I said that I was leaving to put on my pjs [which I absolutely did] and read Get Even.
Pasadena Teen Book Fest was pretty awesome. Even though I was only there for a couple of hours, it was obvious that it was well run. I can’t wait to see what sort of amazing they come up with next year.